ASK GRETTIE – Urinary Tract Health

My latest column for Chic Vegan…

One of the topics I get asked about often is urinary tract health.  Many people (mostly women) experienceUrinary Tract Infections (UTIs) from time to time and they want to know if there is anything they can do naturally to keep a bladder infection at bay.

A few years back I was suffering from recurrent bladder infections (3+ in one year!) and hated having to take antibiotics.  When you truly need antibiotics they can literally be a lifesaver, however it is well known that antibiotics are vastly over prescribed in the United States and the overuse is detrimental for individuals and the public at large.

After drowning myself in jugs and jugs of cranberry juice (I even resorted to the unsweetened 100% cranberry juice), my UTI’s persisted.  In an effort to avoid another UTI and avoid the antibiotics that oftentimes accompany such an infection, I began researching the issue and discovered that there are steps we can take as well as an amazingly safe natural product we can use when needed to ensure our urinary tract health and avoid infections.  As a result of my findings, I have not had a UTI since!


Thankfully my research brought me to Dr. Jonathon Wright.  I stumbled upon this post from his Tahoma Clinic blog which discussed the benefits of the simple sugar D-Mannose in the fight against UTIs.  With regards to the safety of D-Mannose, Dr. Wright states:

“D-mannose is very safe, even for long term use.   D-mannose is a simple sugar, very little of it is metabolized. It doesn’t interfere with blood sugar regulation, even for diabetics. It creates no disruption or imbalance in normal body microflora. It’s safe even for pregnant women and very small children. In the less than 10% of cases where the infection is a bacteria other than E. coli, antibiotics can be started in plenty of time. (Many physicians will likely advise collecting a urine specimen for culture, if possible just before starting D-mannose, so that the bacteria can be identified as rapidly as possible in the few cases when D-mannose doesn’t work.)


As mentioned above, D-Mannose is a simple sugar that occurs naturally in both cranberries and pineapples.  Since very little of the sugar is metabolized by our bodies, most of it is excreted through our urine.

So what does this have to do with UTIs and how can it help cure them?  The bacterium that causes most UTIs is called Escherichia coli (“E. coli”).  When we become infected with a UTI most often it is caused by bacteria called Escherichia coli (“E. coli”).  This E. coli likes to attach itself to the walls of our bladder which causes a multitude of problems.  Fortunately for us E. Coli LOVES D-Mannose.  When we drink water that has been mixed with D-Mannose, the D-Mannose makes its way to our bladder and the E. Coli lets go of our bladder wall and grabs on to the D-Mannose.  When we urinate the E. Coli leaves our body.  I am amazed by how simple and effective this remedy is.

Whenever I feel that I may be coming down with a UTI, I drink water with D-Mannose and I do not get one!  I travel with D-Mannose…I am that big of a believer.


The usual dose for D-Mannose powder is 1/2 teaspoonful (2 1/2 grams) stirred into water every 2 to 4 hours. If the infection is not substantially better within 24 hours, it is probably not being caused by E.coli. in which case it is recommended that you contact your regular physician.

My favorite brand of D-mannose is by pure encapsulations (click here for more information).  I always keep a container or two in my home.


In addition to Dr. Wright’s suggestion to utilize D-Mannose, Dr. Joseph Mercola suggests that there are simple steps you can take to help promote a healthy urinary tract:

  • Drink plenty of water every day – this dilutes your urine and helps you regularly flush your system.
  • Urinate when you feel the need.  Don’t resist the urge to go.
  • For women, wipe from front to back and use unscented and unbleached toilet paper as many young women react to the dyes and chemicals in other toilet papers.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Cleanse your genital area prior to and after sexual intercourse.
  • Urinate after intercourse to flush out your urinary tract.
  • Avoid feminine deodorant sprays, douches, and powders that can lead to irritation of the urethra and genitals.
  • Only use cotton sanitary napkins and tampons.  97% of women believe they are made of cotton, but the truth is LESS THAN one percent actually is.

I hope these tips are as helpful to you as they have been for me.  Bladder infections are no fun!

Here’s to health!



Filed under Chic Vegan Column, Education, General Vegan, Urinary Health, Vegan, Vegetarian

6 responses to “ASK GRETTIE – Urinary Tract Health

  1. Denise

    Parsley Juice. I don’t know why this isn’t already a well known remedy. For years my family has been clearing up UTI with parsley juice. You just take a bunch of parsley, boil it in a pot of water and drink it. It clears it up within a few hours. If ever I feel one “might” be coming on I just make a batch and drink it and it never comes. Its better warm in my opinion but either way it works like a charm. Clean, green, natural, cheap and healthy.

  2. Denise

    You’re more then welcome. Try it for yourself and then spread the word. I’ve been turning people on to it for years, but still never find any info about it when I google it.

  3. Joanne B.

    I also just wanted to add that if you do have a UTI and the remedies mentioned do not work that you should see a physician. Untreated UTI’s can lead to kidney infections and even bacterial sepsis. That is when the infection spreads to the bloodstream. A brilliant and dear Doctor that I knew recently passed away from bacterial sepsis. I also have a girlfriend who became very ill and needed to be hospitalized for bacterial sepsis that started with a UTI.
    I love your blog. Thank you for all the great recipes and info.

    • Hi Joanne! I wholeheartedly agree and thanks for driving that point home.

      I am one of those people who has experienced having a UTI turn into a kidney infection and then into bacterial sepsis. I was SO SICK and it was completely awful. I was in a foreign country and thought I had a UTI (hadn’t had one in years, so I wasn’t sure), but I was afraid to go to the doctor in a country where I didn’t speak the language, etc. Long story short I ignored it and within days of coming back to the US I was in the hospital with a kidney infection and bacterial sepsis. THANK GOODNESS FOR DOCTORS AND MEDICINE. The recovery was long and no fun at all.

      Please, please, please do go see a doctor if the above mentioned remedies do not work for you.

  4. UTIs are miserable. I found pills at Whole Foods that have both D-Mannose and Cranberry in it. They were a lifesaver for me. Now, I just take Cranberry pills on an as-need basis. I found D-Mannose to get expensive and I ended up not really needing it after all! Glad it works for you!

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